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Drug forum to focus on non-opioid options for pain management
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Dallas Gay, an organizer for Partnership for a Drug Free Hall, poses for a portrait in Gainesville, on Oct. 13, 2017. - photo by David Barnes

The fourth forum set for Jan. 24 by a group of civic leaders working to tackle the opioid epidemic will focus on alternative methods for pain management.

Partnership for Drug Free Hall is hosting “Fix My Pain: Non-Opioid Options for Pain Management,” which will be held at First Baptist Church’s banquet hall on Green Street.

“I find that I have learned a lot about pain from putting this forum together, and it will be a big help to take the next steps for reducing the use of opioids,” said Dallas Gay, one of the main organizers for the partnership.

The featured speakers include Dr. Anne Marie McKenzie-Brown, who is an associate professor of anesthesiology at the Emory University School of Medicine, and licensed professional counselor Anastasia Bean.

“Before you go to the opioids or before you start using them on a daily basis, I just really promote cognitive behavioral therapy … and mindfulness techniques,” said Bean of Connections Behavioral Health & Complex Pain Recovery in Marietta.
Bean explained cognitive behavioral therapy as a way to help people “restructure thoughts,” while mindfulness focuses on “learning to be in the present moment.” Too often those suffering with chronic pain attempt to hide it, straining relationships and affecting other parts of their life, she said.

“Mindfulness and (cognitive behavioral therapy) help us learn new ways to cope, how to slow our minds down, (and) to make better choices,” Bean said.

Other panelists will include Gay and Mary Paglia, who was recently named as the executive director for the Jeffrey Dallas Gay Jr. Recovery Community Center. Jeffrey Dallas Gay Jr., the grandson of Gay, died of an overdose in 2012.

A workshop and resource fair will precede the forum from 5-6 p.m., where attendees can learn more about acupuncture, chiropractic care and physical therapy.